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December 20, 2016

John G. O'Neill

John O’Neill talks to Lawyers Weekly about recent decision on insurer’s duty to defend

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Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly recently spoke with Sugarman Rogers partner John O’Neill in preparing an article on a December 2016 decision of the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit charging that a liability-insurance company breached its duty defend. The court held that under the applicable policy terms the duty did not arise because no lawsuit had been filed against the insured.

John, a member of Sugarman Rogers’s Insurance & Reinsurance practice group, was cited by Lawyers Weekly as suggesting that the court had “adopted a typical interpretation of the duty to defend,” notwithstanding “some non-standard policy language that was ‘not nearly as clear’ as more standard policies.” “If every [chapter] 93A demand letter triggered a duty to defend,” John told Lawyers Weekly, “it would broaden the scope of the policy’s coverage pretty dramatically.”the policy’s coverage pretty dramatically,” he said.

Click here to read the full article.

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